Corona on the last leg?
Where the pandemic seems to be over – where it isn’t
By Kai Stoppel
09/23/2022, 7:27 PM
The third corona year is in autumn. But when will the pandemic really end? In the US, President Biden has already announced the end – despite rising deaths. In other parts of the world, however, there are indeed signs that the last act may have begun.
The coronavirus pandemic is over in America — at least if you believe US President Joe Biden. “The epidemic is over”, He declared In a TV interview a few days ago. While this may come as a surprising finding to outsiders, the US is still reporting tens of thousands of new cases per day. And according to the CDC, nearly 400 people continue to die each day from Covid-19.
According to medical historian Jörg Vögele, there are Two possible fronts of an epidemic: An epidemiologic one, when a pathogen is no longer a problem for health systems. Or a community, when people don’t want to hear about it anymore. The latter is likely to exist in the Western world at this time. The war in Ukraine dominates much of the news. Covid-19 is now rarely reported. At the most recent UN General Assembly in New York, the pandemic — unlike the year before — played only a minor role. But is the epidemiological end already near?
Corona is retreating globally, at least step by step Latest Report World Health Organization WHO. In all parts of the world, the number of reported cases is declining or at least stagnating. WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was optimistic a few days ago: “We have never been in a better position to end the epidemic,” he said.
East Asia has the highest number of cases
There are always big differences depending on the region of the world. More than a million new cases were still recorded in Europe in the week of September 12-18. East Asia had more than 1.4 million. Japan in particular has been massively impacted with more than 600,000 new infections. South Korea, long considered a model country in handling the pandemic, reported nearly 400,000 cases in the week in question. It still seems like a lot, but the trend is slowing down.
On the other hand, in Africa, Corona doesn’t seem to be an issue anymore. The continent of more than a billion people has not reported more than 7,000 new infections in a week – as Austria last reported in a day. At the same time, for Africa, it was a third drop compared to the previous week. South Africa, which has experienced several waves during the pandemic, has recently been registering a few hundred new cases a day.
However, in Africa, there are fewer tests due to structural reasons, so experts believe the number of undiagnosed corona cases is high. However, what is a sign that the epidemic is actually slowing down on the continent: According to the WHO, the number of deaths related to Covid-19 is at its lowest level since the beginning of the epidemic. Almost 40 corona deaths have been reported in a week. During the big waves of 2020 and 2021, that number was more than a hundredfold.
Desire dominates America
In America, on the other hand, the end of the epidemic seems to have been of a social nature so far. American epidemiologist Michael Osterholm told the journal Online Health that people were “overrun by the epidemic.” Statistics. “You want to put it behind you.” In his view, President Biden’s statement that the pandemic is “over” should be understood as such. Epidemiologically, however, the epidemic is still in full swing in the United States: the number of deaths has increased slightly again recently, and Covid-19 is still the fourth leading cause of death in the United States.
And in Germany? Events in this country are abundant. However, the number of intensive care patients is only half what it was at the same time last year. About 100 deaths are reported every day. So far Twice as many people have died from Covid-19 this year than last year. The Robert Koch Institute doesn’t want to give the all-clear yet: according to the current RKI weekly report, despite the current stable number of cases, infection pressure in the general population remains high across all age groups. But in the public debate, Covid is currently marginal.
When will the Corona epidemic end worldwide? The exact date can be difficult to determine. Because experts believe that SARS-CoV-2 will no longer disappear, but will become localized. When exactly this point occurs – it is difficult to say. However, the WHO can at least declare an end to the pandemic at some point. By declaring the end of the “Health Emergency of International Concern” in force since January 2020.
“The end is in sight”
“We are not far yet, but the end is in sight,” WHO chief Tedros said a few days ago. “A marathon runner doesn’t stop when the finish line is in sight. She runs with more determination and all her energy. We should do the same.” Otherwise, according to Tedros, there is a risk of new virus variants, more deaths and more uncertainty. WHO therefore calls on all countries to continue testing and above all to vaccinate. Especially the elderly and healthcare workers should be 100 percent vaccinated. Overall, each country should aim to vaccinate 70 percent of its population.
Maybe a sign of hope: Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach, indeed one of the biggest alarmists and pessimists regarding Sars-CoV-2, recently expressed his hope on Twitter: “Many are asking themselves: Corona will never end? When will the endemics come? ?” Not this fall, Lauterbach wrote — it wouldn’t work without effective security measures. But: “In the long run, there will be vaccines that protect against multiple variants and infections. I think this is the end.”
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